7 Ways to Stay Mentally Healthy as a Contractor

Running any business is challenging, but the uncertainties of contracting make it tougher than most. A limited supply of skilled labor, late payments, online reviews allowing unscrupulous customers to hold you hostage, ever-mounting regulations, rising costs, high customer expectations and more. The pressure hangs heavy like an impending storm while the terror of total business and financial risk are all part of the game. You know what it’s like to be worried not just about your own family, but the families your business supports as well. Even when you’re home, your thoughts are on the business. Your sense of self-worth might be wrapped up in how the business performs and it’s hard to remember that your worth is more than your current net worth.

If this feels familiar, you are not alone. Far from it. A few years ago, a team from the University of California at San Francisco, UC Berkeley, and Stanford University announced research findings that showed entrepreneurs were twice as likely as a control group to be depressed.

At some point, everyone struggles. Every successful contractor fought through the same moments of trial and uncertainty that seem so insurmountable. Before they became successful, most of the leaders in our industry failed — and failed more than once. To make matters worse, hardly anybody talks about it because talking about it is admitting a weakness none of us think we are supposed to have.

Here are 7 ways to stay mentally healthy as a contractor business owner:

  1. Put Your Mental Health Above All Else: To run a successful business, you need to be at your best mentally, physically and emotionally. Mental health issues can have debilitating side effects on your business, not to mention your life: We don’t make good decisions when we’re burnt out or stressed out. Finding at least a small amount of time for yourself every day is an important part of self-care. 
  2. Healthy Eating: Eating right helps. Under stress, we eat the wrong foods and consume too much alcohol. Avoid lots of sugar. Avoid alcohol. Do not binge, and do not skip meals. Eat lean. Eat healthy. This will raise your serotonin levels, which helps regulate mood.
  3. Exercising: When the darkness closes in, exercise is the last thing you want, but need the most. Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, which is your body’s happy drug. Endorphins, which cause “runner’s high,” give you energy and make insurmountable problems solvable.
  4. Gratitude: Make a list of the things you still have in your life, the things that were important before you went into business. Give thanks for them. Gratitude crowds out depression.
  5. Getting Sufficient Sleep: Getting between 7-8 hours of sleep every night is crucial for your brain and body to reset, and will leave you feeling less on edge. Try to find a sleep routine that will promote a good night’s sleep, such as shutting off all your electronics as early as possible.
  6. Be Social: It may feel like the last thing you want to do, but spending time with friends or family is incredibly important for your wellbeing. If you’re comfortable, share your struggles and feelings with those closest to you.
  7. Don’t be afraid of therapy: If the stress of being an entrepreneur becomes overwhelming, get professional help from your family doctor, counselor, psychologist, or other mental help expert as soon as possible. You’ve hired accountants, lawyers, and other professionals for things you can’t tackle on your own, so what makes this any different? Think of it as the most important investment you could make.

Running a business can take its toll, and feelings of anxiousness, depression or stress are signs that you’re neglecting your mental health. Practicing self-care as an business owner is beneficial to your personal well-being and makes good business sense. Remember to follow these steps so that you can run a successful business without worrying about letting your happiness or well-being fall by the wayside.

FIELDBOSS helps you manage your business so that you can reduce your stress and increase your efficiency. Our focus is to help you get the most out of your labour resources and deliver the information you and your staff need to run your business.

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